King Salman of Saudi Arabia, 84, addressed the United Nations General Assembly for the first time on Wednesday where he called for a comprehensive solution on Iran and disarming Iranian affiliate Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Like the other monarchs who have spoken at the 75th General Assembly this year, King Salman did so via video from his country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He addressed Middle Eastern rival Iran, the terrorist organisation Hezbollah, the Israeli-Palestinean conflict and Islam in his remarks.
King Salman first touched on foe Iran saying they exploited the 2015 nuclear deal “to intensify its expansionist activities, create its terrorist networks, and use terrorism.” He said that the deal created “chaos, extremism, and sectarianism” before stressing: “A comprehensive solution and a firm international position are required,” to sort out the problem.
The reason, he said, was because the Iranian regime refuses to stop its threats: “Our experience with the Iranian regime has taught us that partial solutions and appeasement did not stop its threats to international peace and security.”
His Majesty touched on the deadly blast in Beirut, Lebanon, that occurred last month and pointed fingers at Hezbollah saying the blast “occurred as a result of the hegemony of Hezbollah … over the decision-making process in Lebanon by force of arms.”
He later emphasised: “This terrorist organisation must be disarmed.”
When mentioning the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, King Salman did not express support for the agreements that the UAE and Bahrain made recently, thanks to the United States, with Israel. Instead, he expressed support for the US’s attempts at brokering peace in the region.
“We support the efforts of the current U.S. administration to achieve peace in the Middle East by bringing the Palestinians and the Israelis to the negotiation table to reach a fair and comprehensive agreement,” he said. He repeated his opinion that Palestine must have its own state before Israel would be recognised.
Regarding Saudi Arabia being such a sacred location for the Muslim faith and its responsibility to defend the tolerant form of the religion, His Majesty told the UN: “We in the kingdom, due to our position in the Muslim world, bear a special and historic responsibility to protect our tolerant Islamic faith from attempts by terrorist organisations and extremist groups to pervert it.”
King Salman is only the second Saudi king to address the UN. The other was his brother, King Saud, at the UN New York headquarters in 1957.